EDITOR’S NOTE: Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — When vision is clear, concise and compelling, people engage it. When the clear, concise and compelling vision is shared consistently and effectively, people begin to embrace it. When people engage and embrace the vision, they will support it financially.
170 years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention began with a clear, concise and compelling vision. In our founding charter the focus was singular: “for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel….” This is why we came into being in 1845.
Reaching the world for Christ is the way we communicate this vision today. When you visit our convention’s website at sbc.net you will find this phrase at the very top. According to our 2014 Annual Church Profile, we have 51,094 churches and congregations that unite around our vision as Southern Baptists.
Personally, as a pastor and as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, I am absolutely thrilled we are communicating our vision like this. It is who we are and what we are about. We are 51,094 churches and congregations that come together to reach the world for Christ.
We need to come together around our vision
Our churches, associations, state conventions and entities need to come together around our clear, concise and compelling vision: reaching the world for Christ. When we communicate our vision consistently and effectively, we will lead others to not only engage in our vision, but also embrace it.
Peter Greer and Chris Horst spent two years studying organizations including businesses, educational institutions, parachurch ministries and churches. The result of their work is Mission Drift, which analyzes stories of organizations who have undergone mission drift and those who have remained mission true.
When we drift away from our missional vision of reaching the world for Christ, we also drift away from God’s power. Whenever we drift away from the power of God, we will inevitably drift away from our vision.
Our churches, associations, state conventions and entities can communicate one thousand different things. However, there is only one common vision that has served as the Gospel thread to keep us together for 170 years: reaching the world for Christ. This is what we need to communicate consistently and effectively to one another and to this world: We are a network of 51,094 churches and congregations that come together to reach the world for Christ.
Money will follow this vision
I am convinced money will follow the vision of reaching the world for Christ. People will give more money to our churches when we accomplish and forward this vision regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally. Churches will give more money to our associations when this vision is being accomplished in our communities. Churches will forward more money through the Cooperative Program when they are convinced that state conventions and entities are supporting and assisting our churches in this grand, singular vision of reaching the world for Christ.
Churches do not exist for the Southern Baptist Convention. Our associations, state conventions and entities exist for our churches by supporting and assisting our churches in reaching the world for Christ. Our vision is not and cannot be about saving our convention. Together, we cooperate to accomplish the singular vision of reaching the world for Christ. Money will follow the vision.
This is not about…
This is not about my church or yours. This is not about an association, state convention, or entity. This is not about the Southern Baptist Convention.
Together, we cooperate in working toward forwarding, advancing and completing this vision of reaching the world for Christ. Therefore, each church, association, state convention and entity as well as all of us must do all we can where we are with what we have to reach the world for Christ.
If we truly believe
If we truly believe in the Gospel, we understand that people without Jesus are lost spiritually and in need of personal salvation in Christ alone. Therefore, we cannot have any greater vision than reaching the world for Christ. When we believe this convictionally, this conviction will get ahold of us.
And when it gets ahold of us, money will follow this vision. More money will come from people to churches, from churches through the Cooperative Program, and from state conventions through our Southern Baptist Convention, and from our Southern Baptist Convention to the world.
We can do this, if we will.